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John Pilger: The new Pearl Harbor

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  • Zafar Khan
    The new Pearl Harbor Two years ago a project set up by the men who now surround George W Bush said what America needed was a new Pearl Harbor . Its published
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 29, 2002
      The new Pearl Harbor
      Two years ago a project set up by the men who now
      surround George W Bush said what America needed was "a
      new Pearl Harbor". Its published aims have,
      alarmingly, come true.
      by John Pilger


      THE threat posed by US terrorism to the security of
      nations and individuals was outlined in prophetic
      detail in a document written more than two years ago
      and disclosed only recently. What was needed for
      America to dominate much of humanity and the world's
      resources, it said, was "some catastrophic and
      catalysing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor".

      The attacks of 11 September 2001 provided the "new
      Pearl Harbor", described as "the opportunity of ages".
      The extremists who have since exploited 11 September
      come from the era of Ronald Reagan, when far-right
      groups and "think-tanks" were established to avenge
      the American "defeat" in Vietnam.

      In the 1990s, there was an added agenda: to justify
      the denial of a "peace dividend" following the cold
      war. The Project for the New American Century was
      formed, along with the American Enterprise Institute,
      the Hudson Institute and others that have since merged
      the ambitions of the Reagan administration with those
      of the current Bush regime.One of George W Bush's
      "thinkers" is Richard Perle (right).

      I interviewed Perle when he was advising Reagan; and
      when he spoke about "total war", I mistakenly
      dismissed him as mad. He recently used the term again
      in describing America's "war on terror". "No stages,"
      he said,

      "This is total war. We are fighting a variety of
      enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this
      talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then
      we will do Iraq... this is entirely the wrong way to
      go about it.
      If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and
      we embrace it entirely and we don't try to piece
      together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total
      war... our children will sing great songs about us
      years from now."

      Perle is one of the founders of the Project for the
      New American Century, the PNAC.

      Other founders include Dick Cheney, now
      vice-president, Donald Rumsfeld, defence secretary
      (right), Paul Wolfowitz, deputy defence secretary, I
      Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, William J
      Bennett, Reagan's education secretary, and Zalmay
      Khalilzad, Bush's ambassador to Afghanistan.

      THESE are the modern chartists of American terrorism.
      The PNAC's seminal report, Rebuilding America's
      Defences: strategy, forces and resources for a new
      century, was a blueprint of American aims in all but
      name. Two years ago it recommended an increase in
      arms-spending by $48bn so that Washington could "fight
      and win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars".
      This has happened. It said the United States should
      develop "bunker-buster" nuclear weapons and make "star
      wars" a national priority.

      This is happening. It said that, in the event of Bush
      taking power, Iraq should be a target. And so it is.As
      for Iraq's alleged "weapons of mass destruction",
      these were dismissed, in so many words, as a
      convenient excuse, which it is. "While the unresolved
      conflict with Iraq provides the immediate
      justification," it says, "the need for a substantial
      American force presence in the Gulf transcends the
      issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."

      How has this grand strategy been implemented? A series
      of articles in the Washington Post, co-authored by Bob
      Woodward of Watergate fame and based on long
      interviews with senior members of the Bush
      administration, reveals how 11 September was
      manipulated.On the morning of 12 September 2001,
      without any evidence of who the hijackers were,
      Rumsfeld demanded that the US attack Iraq.

      According to Woodward, Rumsfeld told a cabinet meeting
      that Iraq should be "a principal target of the first
      round in the war against terrorism". Iraq was
      temporarily spared only because Colin Powell, the
      secretary of state, persuaded Bush that "public
      opinion has to be prepared before a move against Iraq
      is possible".

      Afghanistan was chosen as the softer option. If
      Jonathan Steele's estimate in the Guardian is correct,
      some 20,000 people in Afghanistan paid the price of
      this debate with their lives. Time and again, 11
      September is described as an "opportunity".

      IN last April's New Yorker, the investigative
      reporter Nicholas Lemann wrote that Bush's most senior
      adviser, Condoleezza Rice, told him she had called
      together senior members of the National Security
      Council and asked them "to think about 'how do you
      capitalise on these opportunities'", which she
      compared with those of "1945 to 1947": the start of
      the cold war. Since 11 September, America has
      established bases at the gateways to all the major
      sources of fossil fuels, especially central Asia.

      The Unocal oil company is to build a pipeline across
      Afghanistan. Bush has scrapped the Kyoto Protocol on
      greenhouse gas emissions, the war crimes provisions of
      the International Criminal Court and the
      anti-ballistic missile treaty. He has said he will use
      nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states "if

      Under cover of propaganda about Iraq's alleged weapons
      of mass destruction, the Bush regime is developing new
      weapons of mass destruction that undermine
      international treaties on biological and chemical
      warfare.In the Los Angeles Times, the military analyst
      William Arkin describes a secret army set up by Donald
      Rumsfeld, similar to those run by Richard Nixon and
      Henry Kissinger and which Congress outlawed.

      This "super-intelligence support activity" will bring
      together the "CIA and military covert action,
      information warfare, and deception". According to a
      classified document prepared for Rumsfeld, the new
      organisation, known by its Orwellian moniker as the
      Proactive Pre-emptive Operations Group, or P2OG, will
      provoke terrorist attacks which would then require
      "counter-attack" by the United States on countries
      "harbouring the terrorists".In other words, innocent
      people will be killed by the United States.

      This is reminiscent of Operation Northwoods, the plan
      put to President Kennedy by his military chiefs for a
      phoney terrorist campaign -- complete with bombings,
      hijackings, plane crashes and dead Americans -- as
      justification for an invasion of Cuba. Kennedy
      rejected it. He was assassinated a few months later.

      NOW Rumsfeld has resurrected Northwoods, but with
      resources undreamt of in 1963 and with no global rival
      to invite caution. You have to keep reminding yourself
      this is not fantasy: that truly dangerous men, such as
      Perle and Rumsfeld and Cheney, have power. The thread
      running through their ruminations is the importance of
      the media: "the prioritised task of bringing on board
      journalists of repute to accept our position".

      "Our position" is code for lying. Certainly, as a
      journalist, I have never known official lying to be
      more pervasive than today. We may laugh at the
      vacuities in Tony Blair's "Iraq dossier" and Jack
      Straw's inept lie that Iraq has developed a nuclear
      bomb (which his minions rushed to "explain").

      But the more insidious lies, justifying an unprovoked
      attack on Iraq and linking it to would-be terrorists
      who are said to lurk in every Tube station, are
      routinely channelled as news. They are not news; they
      are black propaganda.
      This corruption makes journalists and broadcasters
      mere ventriloquists' dummies. An attack on a nation of
      22 million suffering people is discussed by liberal
      commentators as if it were a subject at an academic
      seminar, at which pieces can be pushed around a map,
      as the old imperialists used to do.The issue for these
      humanitarians is not primarily the brutality of modern
      imperial domination, but how "bad" Saddam Hussein is.

      There is no admission that their decision to join the
      war party further seals the fate of perhaps thousands
      of innocent Iraqis condemned to wait on America's
      international death row. Their doublethink will not
      work. You cannot support murderous piracy in the name
      of humanitarianism. Moreover, the extremes of American
      fundamentalism that we now face have been staring at
      us for too long for those of good heart and sense not
      to recognise them.

      With thanks to Norm Dixon and Chris Floyd

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